Why do I need a booster for my solar hot water system and what is available?
Can I use a solar collector with my existing hot water system?
How much energy will I save using an SolarMaster Solar Hot Water System?
SolarMaster solar hot water system is made up of evacuated tube solar collectors, a storage tank/hot water heater, a gas or electric booster and a solar controller and pump. We install the storage tank/hot water heater on the ground and the solar collectors are attached to the roof. The system uses a solar controller and pump to transfer cold water from the tank to the solar collectors to be heated and returned to the top of the tank. The solar controller compares the temperature of the water in the solar collector to that in the tank. When the collector is hotter than the tank the pump is switched on, transferring the solar heated water to the tank.
A booster is required to deliver hot water in times of low solar contribution or times of excessive hot water consumption. The two booster options are:
SolarMaster collectors can be added to an existing hot water system, but your existing tank to have solar flow and return ports available.
The amount of energy you will save varies; based on your location, water usage, and type of system you install. On average, an electric hot water system accounts for about 30% of your total household energy usage. Installing an SolarMaster system will save you up to 90% of the energy used by your existing electric hot water unit.
If there is rainy days , does that mean I will have no hot water?
What applications are SolarMaster solar hot water systems best suited to?
What are the advantages of using SolarMaster evacuated tube collectors?
A solar hot water system is too expensive
All SolarMaster solar hot water systems can install a booster built-in to ensure you are never left with a cold shower.
SolarMaster Solar collectors are very versatile, they can be used in a full range of applications, these include:
Household and residential solar hot water
Solar pre-heating systems
Business and commercial hot water: Swimming pool, dairy farms, chemical treatment plants, hospitals, apartment buildings, wineries and many more
Evacuated tubes passively track the sun for more hours of the day
10 year warranty* on major components
Lightweight and durable design
Excellent cold weather performance
Low maintenance design
When thinking about the cost, you also need to take into consideration the ongoing/running costs. Going solar may be more expensive up-front, but the running costs will be much less, in fact – the more electricity/gas prices rise in the future, the more you will save!
How strong are the tubes? Will tubes break easy?
What happens when a tube breaks? Will my system stop after a hail storm? What if someone throws rocks at the tubes?
Other systems are stronger as they have thicker glass tubes
How long will the tubes last? Will the vacuum go? Will I need to replace them?
SolarMaster evacuated tube collectors are made to European and International standards. In terms of hail resistance, SolarMaster evacuated tubes have been independently tested and shown to withstand impact from a 25mm / 1′′ ice ball at 90km/hr. If you are in a region with extreme hail (much larger than 25mm / 1′′) then the solar collectors should be installed at an angle of 45° or greater, which greatly increases impact strength.
The SolarMaster evacuated tube design does not circulate water through the evacuated tube so if a tube is damaged, you will not experience any leaks. In fact, on a 30 tube system, even if you lost 3 x tubes from a branch or similar object falling on the collector, you will only lose 10% of your solar heating capability. The tubes are easily replaced by simply unclipping at the base, sliding the old tube out, and replacing with a new tube. In most cases, the copper heat pipe inside the tube will not need replacing.
Thickness does not always indicate strength. More important than thickness is the material structure and quality of the glass. Our glass thickness is 1.8mm, and has passed the hail impact testing to meet European standards. For example: some suppliers have glass of 1.6mm thickness which is stronger to impact than 2mm glass from another supplier due to better quality glass. So simply saying “this glass is thicker” is not a valid or useful comparison.
Evacuated tubes do not have an industry standard “degradation” value – however it is estimated that the tubes may lose approximately 0.5% output per annum. SolarMaster tubes are tested to the most stringent of standards, and have a barium coating to absorb any impurities that may occur over time within the tubes vacuum. SolarMaster heat pipes are manufactured from high purity, oxygen free copper to ensure the longevity of the vacuum. The tubes are covered by a 10 year warranty that they won’ t lose their vacuum, and if the vacuum is compromised within the evacuated tubes – they turn white as an indicator
It’s a hot climate – the tubes get too hot here! I have been told they overheat?
I’m in a cold region, solar doesn’t work here. Will my tubes freeze in frost?
Do the solar systems still operate when it's cloudy?
What is the difference between vacuum tube collectors and flat plate collectors?
SolarMaster manifolds are rated to handle extreme temperature and pressure (~250°C). During a period of no load (stagnation) the pressure and temperature relief valve fitted on the storage tank is all that is required.
The SolarMaster system has built-in frost protection, and can handle very cold and varying climate. In fact the tubes also absorb UV light, and the vacuum prevents energy from escaping to the atmosphere making them work extremely well even in the coldest regions. The frost rating is down to -20°C without the use of frost valves or a chemical/anti-freeze solution that other systems require.
On cloudy days in the summer, the solar system still uses up to 80% of the solar radiation, and in the winter it uses 25% of the radiation of a solar day. In these cases the solar system uses the diffuse radiation reflected by the clouds.
With flat plate glazed collectors the absorbers are fitted in a box closed by a pane of glass (90 % market share in 2009 in Europe). Vacuum tube collectors – which are the dominating technology in China (96 % market share in 2008) – have the absorber coating on the outside of the inner tube in placed within an evacuated glass tube. Generally speaking, the advantage of vacuum tubes is a higher efficiency (less space required for the collector on the roof) and higher temperatures (necessary for process heat and some solar cooling technologies).